Add deer hunting to the random list of firsts for 2020.
As I climbed and settled into the metal bench with Wade and his gun, I wondered what on Earth I’d been thinking—just a gal with a bright orange hat, some completely impractical camouflage accessories, and great hopes for quality time with her husband.
Wedged into a forked tree, we swayed with the heavy gusts of November wind. Long, leaf bare branches knocked together like nature’s windchimes around us. When we didn’t blow out of the tree tops Rock-a-Bye-Baby style, my tail bone reminded me how handy bleacher seat cushions would’ve been. I hear there are rechargeable heated cushions these days, something that would’ve been a game changer for me when Wade played ball in Pennsylvania. I mentioned all of this to him.
He grunted in agreement.
I reached for my phone and snapped a couple memories before the battery died. Major bummer. A few minutes were spent making mental checklists of grocery items, Christmas gifts, and things I should tell Wade when this was over (though we had just started). My longest lists were of all the other things I could or he should be doing instead of waiting for a big animal to stroll within range.
Turkeys strut by while squirrels searched for nuts and trouble amongst the fallen logs. My book club is discussing the first part of our new selection this coming weekend, and I’ve been delaying reading it. Searching for and Maintaining Peace promises to be a retreat from the agitation of our busy world. I explained the irony of me forgetting such a book at home and my restlessness in the deer stand to Wade.
He muttered about the white pages flapping in the wind and making too much noise.
I tried to focus on the funny squirrels and the gray stumps that I prayed would suddenly spring to life so I could say, “Surprise, honey! It’s actually a sneaky deer!” But that never happened. I eventually wrapped an arm around a branch of the rocking tree and conceded to heavy eyelids.
I woke as something moved in the last bit of evening light. How I wished I had brought my glasses, though I didn’t say. Wade lifted his gun and peered through the scope. Three does, cautious and ghostly.
“This would be so much easier if they’d make some noise.”
“What kind of sounds do they make?”
He mumbled, “They kind of grunt.”
As far as dates in 2020 go, sitting in the middle of the woods was about as socially-distanced and socially-backward as could be. I told Wade that if I ever go again, I will at least be prepared with a well-packed purse, hot coffee, and charged Kindle.
He grunted, but I saw a grin.